Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Top ICT Businessman in Africa, 2007
Well, wonders never cease. I was totally bowled over when the announcement that I had been declared the top ICT businessman in Africa was made. This was at the African ICT Achievers Awards ceremony held in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 17th of November. 

Monday, June 11, 2007

Business for Development: This is the right paradigm to bring about a change in the economic status of what are normally referred to as "developing countries". Being a proud, cardholding member of the developing country called Kenya I am a firm believer in this philosophy. and having witnessed the economic transformation that the country has gone through over the past 5 years I must say that there is a lot of truth in that belief.

The other day, founder of the Enablis Entrepreneurial Network said it perfectly, "development will not come from poverty alleviation, it will come from wealth creation". It is my prayer that more countries in Africa look at building their entrepreneurs and private sector as the main thrust towards national development.
Last night over dinner I had a very stimulating discussion with an icon of the computer age - John Gage. John had some very interesting ideas about how Google Earth could be used to track connectivity status of schools around Kenya.

I wasn't exactly sure how this would look or work until today when I saw how world bank is tracking the ease/difficulty of doing business across 175 countries. Check it out:

The "Doing Business Map": How easy (or difficult) is it to do business in 175 countries?

DoingBusiness.org is a part of The World Bank Group and offers a database to "..provide objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement. The Doing Business indicators are comparable across 175 economies. They indicate the regulatory costs of business and can be used to analyze specific regulations that enhance or constrain investment, productivity, and growth."

To make it easier to browse this database The World Bank Group has created a Google Maps mashup called the "Doing Busiess Map" which creates a map view to the the database they are providing as a service from their website. Now entrepreneurs and business people all over the world can more easily create business plans and develop their overall business strategy. It is truly a Google Maps mashup that has the potential to change the way the world operates.

Another very impressive device that I'm itching to get my hands on is the Sony Vaio UX-280p. This device belongs to the class known as Ultra-Micro PCs. It has a 4.5 inch screen, which slides upwards to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. Coming with 1GB RAM, 40GB Hard Disk and pre-installed Windows XP and a number of productivity apps - this device is very attractive to the highly mobile proffessional. It is especially appealing to me because it means I can have two computers in my bag (main: Apple Macbook - Black, and UX280p) without the bulk, weight and inconvenience of two laptops in a bag!


Besides having Bluetooth, Wifi and WWAN (Edge Cellular Modem) as well as built in USB and Audio ports, it comes with a port replicator that provides 3 more USB ports, VGA out, Audio in/out and Ethernet. This is kinda neat because it means that while in the office, you basically can hook it up to full size screen, keyboard and mouse to get full Desktop functionality.

Palm announces "Mobile Companion" - Revolutionary new approach towards Data/Mobility for "Active" Proffessionals

In a move that has attracted both strong criticism as well as raccous applause, Palms' Jeff Hawkins announced a new approach towards Mobility and Data with the "Foleo" - a new device tagged as a "Mobile Companion" and intended to work in tandem with a Palm Treo Smartphone (either Palm or Windows Mobile OS). It was also suggested that the Foleo will shortly be able to work with smartphones running any of the other popular smartphones OS i.e. blackberry & symbian.

The Foleo has a large screen and full-size keyboard (which makes email and working with documents much easier), Wi-Fi, and an on/off button that actually does just that...instant on, instant off (i.e. no boot up).

For more details:
http://investor.palm.com/pressdetail.cfm?ReleaseID=246403

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Some friends I met in Bagamoyo, Tanzania when I was there recently as part of a Task Force that is looking at ways to get the 3 East African countries - Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya's Internet Exchange Points connected.

What a day that will be for the land of Zinj!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

ICT Hall of Fame! What a surprise it was for me to learn that I had been nominated, shortlisted and eventually chosen as Kenya's first inductee into the ICT Hall of Fame Proffessional Category.

This took place on the 9th of February 2007 at one of Kenya's biggest ICT events - a gala dinner hosted by the Ministry of Information & Communication in conjunction with events organisers.

http://www.ictvillage.com/_Fame_BrianLongwe.asp

Well, what can I say? I'm just extremely humbled that I would be granted this accolade. It is now incumbent upon me to set out the right example, serve as a suitable role model and also encourage and inspire the younger generation.

I think for me the most amazing thing is how difficult my road to this point has been. When I finished high school my parents couldn't afford to send me to college or university and because of constantly being out of class due to delays in school fee payments, my grades were not good enough to gain admission to a public university. After high school I made one simple choice, since I didn't have very much on my side in terms of financial and circumstancial support, I would have to work, train myself in whatever discipline and be extra committed to developing myself as a person into someone worthwhile. I must say now that I thank God, my family and everyone along this difficult road who has given me a chance or opportunity to learn and grow.
World Bank approves US$ 164.5 Million for Connectivity in Kenya, Burundi and Madagascar

I'm very happy to see the level of international interest and allocation of funds towards communications infrastructure and ICTs in general in the land of Zinj. This is just one more milestone.

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World Bank Approves US$164.5 Million for Connectivity to Make Kenya, Burundi and Madagascar More Competitive Up to 25 countries in East and Southern Africa could benefit from the broader US$424 million Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP)
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2, 2007 ¡ยช The World Bank Board of Directors
approved on March 29, an International Development Association (IDA) financing package of US$164.5 million for Kenya, Burundi and Madagascar as the first tranche of the US$424 million Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP) for high-speed connectivity in East and Southern Africa.
Exactly one year since my last post! What a coincidence. This morning I just thought, why not put some of the thoughts I'm pushing to my favorite mailing lists into a blog.... then I remembered that I had set up, on a whim, with Blogger. Glad to see the account still active.

My last post was when my office got robbed. Well, we've come full circle - now the company has grown steadily and I'm getting ready for a financing round that will see the business move to the next level. It was tough but we managed to recover from the robbery - resupplied and retooled, but as they say "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". So I guess that maybe we are tough ;-)